After having the opportunity to sea trial three different offerings from Bonefish Boats for Best Boat, I’m noticing something each has in common; the “Sports Car Fun Factor.” While each of the boats was built for an entirely different intended use and none of them were meant to be racing boats specifically, all three models offered high performance rides that get your heart racing while simultaneously providing a serious and practical fishing platform to work from.
Bonefish describes the Hill Tide 22 as a model that “blurs the line between a bay boat and a flats boat” which may be the case but the only thing blurry from behind the wheel in my case was my peripheral vision at 60+ MPH. Powered with an Evinrude 250 HP engine, the Hill Tide 22 easily pushed past the 60-MPH mark and offered acceleration throughout the throttle range that would snap your head back. The hull is rated for up to 300-HP but I can’t imagine any scenario where you would need it. Fuel economy was also impressive throughout the range including a miserly 10-GPH burn at 40-MPH for 4-MPG.
The ride quality was equally impressive in the chop and the slight single-step bottom design walked quietly across a moderate ocean chop on the beach and handled the wakes from numerous large sportfish yachts uneventfully. The Carbon Fiber/Kevlar/Glass laminate provided an extremely tight and solid feel to the construction when we pushed the boat hard into the chop, never offering the slightest rattle.
From a fishability standpoint the Hill Tide 22 was a standout in her class as well. Most notable was the amount of deck area and inherent stability in this slightly wider than average design. An 8-foot 7-inch beam for 22-feet of length gave the impression of standing on a larger boat to each of us and despite the large footprint this boat was wildly easy to maneuver in tight quarters and while doing battle adjacent to a shallow flat with a large Tarpon on ultra-light tackle, the Hill Tide backed and spun effortlessly without the need to over-rev the Evinrude.
The added square footage of deck provides plenty of space beneath it for storage including a large center deck storage compartment forward set between a pair of outboard rod lockers/storage compartments and a forward 20-gallon live well. Alongside the center well at the step up forward is a recessed pocket step which we each agreed made the quick run to the bow deck while chasing a fish around the boat easier. At the rear casting deck, an additional pair of outboard corner storage compartments flanked a larger, center located 30-gallon live well.
The sport center console featured a comfortable forward seat which lifts forward providing access to the console interior for extra storage and systems access. Alongside the console walls to port and starboard were eight vertical rod holders for storage and hand rails which proved necessary at times when I couldn’t resist the urge to drop the hammer on the throttle. A classic leaning post seat with a storage seat and four more rod holders was a perfect complement to the clean lines; and as in each Bonefish model we’ve seen, classy trim and upholstery added just the right amount of style to this serious fishing rig.
The Hill Tide 22 is offered in several helm layouts including traditional T-Top or Hard Top, Mid-Station Riser, and Full Tower with a Second Station. PowerPoles and a Trolling Motor are also available options. For a complete package boat that runs fast and smooth, floats in shallow water, fishes three anglers with room to spare, and looks sexy doing it all, the Hill Tide 22 should leave you breathless.
Bonefish Hill Tide 22 Specifications
Beam: 8-feet 7-inches
Maximum Horsepower: 300
Fuel: 44-gallons (63-gallons optional)
Base Price: $77,000 (w/Suzuki 200 and Aluminum trailer)